“And we know that all things work together for good
to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
This scripture is one of my favorites. I penned it on the foundation of our farmhouse dining room with permanent marker. I had this hope that as we gathered each night for dinner, it would be a constant reminder that the ingredients of our lives are divinely put together in such a way that all will work together for our good.
Sometimes in life we are served delightful dishes and other times the meals are filled with bitter vegetables, but we can be sure that the meals we are given are just exactly what our spirits need to be healthy and strong. And even in those difficult dishes, we wait expectantly for a sweet dessert which will surely be served for the next course.
This is always how I’ve viewed this verse from Romans. Through the ups and downs, the mountain vistas and the treacherous uphill battles, I have reassured myself time and again with these comforting words: “…all things work together for good to them that love God…”
But it is not until just recently that I paid closer attention to the second part of the verse: “…to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
And I wonder if we are not all called in some small way to help build the kingdom of God on the earth? Are we not all given unique talents with the charge to use them to lift and bless and edify others?
When I catch hold upon this thought, I feel somewhat ungrateful and even a little ashamed. Here I am, showing up everyday to the gracious feast that the Lord serves up, eating and thanking Him, and yet? Isn’t there something more I could be doing? Life is not meant to be lived for the getting. I am not called to be a continual receiver. I am given grace unending for a greater purpose than to enjoy it alone.
I don’t want to be a bowl for His loving-kindness anymore – I want to be a pitcher. I want to receive His grace and then pour it out for others to receive.
It’s only in this way that I can truly show my devotion and heartfelt gratitude for the feast I’ve been served. It’s only in this way that I can follow the mandate that Christ proclaimed to “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
But the call to serve used to fill me with dread. The mere thought of tying dozens of quilts or delivering daily casseroles or organizing relief to suffering nations left me feeling utterly overwhelmed and discouraged. And so I did nothing. And felt forever guilty. I tried to serve here and there, but it seemed a mere drop in the bucket of worldwide need.
Until the day I learned that service isn’t always about saving the millions–sometimes it’s about ministering to the one. And while my sewing and baking skills my not be my forte, Heavenly Father has given me other talents for blessing His children.
A rich young ruler once asked the Savior, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?… Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” (Matthew 19:16, 21)
If you were coming to the Farmhouse for dinner tonight, we would gather round our barnwood table and as we feasted on the goodness of the Lord, I would ask you all about the ways your heart is called to serve and share with you my ways as well.
Yes, if I could invite you to dinner, I would in a heartbeat. But perhaps, you can still have this glorious, heartwarming discussion with your own family tonight, as you gather round your table to feast. Open up your hearts and talk about the ways you feel called to serve as individuals and as a family. Then make plans to become pitchers and pour out your love.
Because this is what we are called to do. And the filling up the world with goodness is really the only way to fill our souls with true contentment.
Maybe, just maybe, we all start right where we are, and serve in the way that comes natural to us–the way that lights up our souls, we could all join hands throughout the world and multiply love in an exponential way.